“The goal is as many Ukrainians as possible with the Internet in the event of a blackout.” The Ministry of Digital Development’s response to InAU’s criticism against the rapid transition to “optics”

by alex

The Ministry of Digital Development provided ITC.ua with an official response to criticism from InAU regarding the advantages of the optical Internet – the association was outraged by the calls of the Ministry of Digital Development team and its head Mikhail Fedorov to consumers about the need to speed up the transition to fiber-optic networks PON (Passive Optical Network), which are more stable to the blackout. Below we publish the full text of the statement.

Context

At the beginning of the month, the Ministry of Digital Development called on Ukrainians to switch to energy-saving networks using xPON technology as quickly as possible and push their Internet providers to modernize their infrastructure. In response, InAU, on behalf of Internet providers, criticized the authorities – published an open letter with its own requests and called on officials not to incite consumers. Judging by preliminary reports, Ukrainian operators and providers in general are not prepared for long-term power outages.

More details about the conflict between the Ministry of Digital Development and InAU around the optical Internet can be found in a separate article.

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Official response from the Ministry of Digital Development

Director of the Department for Fixed Internet Development of the Ministry of Digital Development, Yuriy Matsik, shared with us his own assessment of the situation and arguments in favor of optics. According to him, xPON technology is the best among others available for providing Internet and communications during long-term power outages, which is confirmed by the study. Below is a comment from the top manager of the Ministry of Digital Development.

Based on the experience of last winter, even in the capital, certain areas were without power supply and Internet for up to 72 hours. In particular, the Left Bank and Vinohradar. Understanding this, users and providers are preparing for the possibility of a recurrence of such challenges (even the weather last weekend reminded us of the challenges of power outages when it knocked out hundreds of communities for 24 hours).

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The main goal of the Ministry of Digital Development is to keep more Ukrainians online and in touch during power outages. Were able to study and work remotely from home and communicate with loved ones.

That is why the State Service for Special Communications developed a draft order on requirements for network stability and held a public discussion in August 2023. Then telecom market participants did not support the proposal – up to 50% of all subscribers should be online for at least three days. They proposed defining requirements for types of technologies and duration of support for service availability for subscribers:

  • FTTx, DOCSIS: 8 hours – 50% of subscribers, 24 hours – 10% of subscribers, 72 hours – 0%.
  • xPON: 8 hours – 100%, 24 hours – 95%, 72 hours – 90%.
  • xDSL: 8 hours – 66%, 72 hours – 44%.
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Each technology requires different costs to support autonomous operation. Just like it has different capabilities to provide Internet during power outages. To understand the level of preparedness of providers for possible problems with power supply, 3 surveys were conducted.

The first is for representatives of small and medium-sized businesses throughout Ukraine on the initiative of the APC. The results showed that the overall percentage of users for whom providers can provide access to services without power supply:

  • 8 hours – 44%,
  • 24 hours – 26%,
  • 72 hours – 14%.

The second was conducted by the Ministry of Digital Development among large national operators. Results:

  • 4 hours – 55%,
  • 8 hours – 34.4%,
  • 24 hours – 24.9%,
  • 72 hours – 25.7%.

Third, InAU is now being carried out among all Internet providers. Interim results as of October 31, 2023 show that the following will be able to stay online for up to 72 hours without power supply:

  • 57.7% of users on xPON technology, 5.1% on other technologies

According to the results of the study, among all the technologies available on the market, operators can provide the longest autonomous network operation for users using xPON.

In addition, the surveyed operators confirmed that, unlike xPON, supporting autonomous operation of FTTx networks for 72 hours requires tens or even hundreds of times more costs for additional sources of alternative power per subscriber.

The Ministry of Digital Development notes that it will inform Ukrainians about all available technologies that allow them to stay in touch from 4 to 72 hours during a power outage. Soon, the LUN City team plans to launch a map of providers that can provide Internet users for up to 72 hours during power outages. True, at first it will only cover Kyiv.

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